Shippensburg University’s men’s cross-country team qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships with a third-place finish at the Atlantic Region Championships that were held at Lock Haven University on Saturday.
The women’s team placed fifth at the championship, beating their seventh-place seed and placing third out of all the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) schools participating.
The men’s team placed third in the 10,000-meter run in the Atlantic Region Championship with 63 points. Charleston (W.V.) won and Davis & Elkins placed second with 54 points each, but Charleston had more individual runners place higher than Davis and Elkins to break the tie.
Sophomore Garrett Quinan, PSAC individual campion, once again was the best individual finisher of the PSAC with a fifth-place finish. Senior Aiden Gonder followed closely with a sixth-place finish. The Raiders’ scorers were rounded out by graduate Hayden Hunt, sophomore Ryan Wolfe and senior Ian Sherlock, who placed 14th, 18th and 21st, respectively.
Graduate Kevin Wagner finished 24th and received, together with the other scorers, Atlantic All-Region honors. Six out of the seven SU runners finished with All-Region accolades for the first time since 2016.
Graduate Nathan Harding finished 42nd as the Raiders’ seventh runner, improving on his 2022 performance by four places.
SU stuck to its race plan throughout the entire race, as the Raiders were in third place of the team standings at all seven recorded splits. They started out deliberately with no runner in the top 20 at the first split, but then picked up the pace and started to steadily gain places and ground at the following splits.
The men’s team’s third-place finish was their best result since 2018.
The women’s team also impressed with a fifth-place finish as a team, where they beat some PSAC schools that they lost to at the PSAC Championships two weeks ago. For the women, it was their best team result since 2018 as well.
Many of the SU runners heavily improved their 6K personal records on the fast championship course at Lock Haven.
Front-runner for the women’s team was once again Livi Rieck, who finished 19th with a 40-second personal record of 21:51.1. Rieck ran a consistent race and was clocked inside the Top 20 at all times of the race. She improved by one spot from her 20th-place finish last year and achieved All-Region honors for the second year in a row.
The other women started more deliberately but impressed with strong finishes after the first 2,000 meters.
The Raiders’ second scorer was senior Belle Weikert, who finished in 29th place after sitting in 44th place halfway through the race. Weikert missed an All-Region classification by four spots but improved her PR by 67 seconds to 22:17.5 and her finish from the previous year by 36 places.
Junior Victoria Mattioli made her first appearance at the regional meet for the Raiders, after running there for West Chester in 2021. Sitting in 78th place after the first 1,600 meters, she picked up the pace and made up ground to finish 39th in 22:36.2. Mattioli demolished her previous PR of 24:17 from 2021.
Redshirt sophomore Kelsey Hull and redshirt freshman Faith Wilson were the final two scorers for SU. Hull finished 53rd with a new PR of 22:54.7, a 34-second improvement, after delivering a consistent race. Wilson finished 68th in her debut at the regional meet in a time of 23:09.2, a PR by 107 seconds.
Sophomores Katy Todd and Morgan Hess also debuted at the Regional Championship Meet. Both destroyed their previous PRs, with Todd finishing 77th with a 46-second PR and Hess improving her PR by 57 seconds in her 84th-place finish.
The women’s team chose a similar tactic as the men’s team with a deliberate start and strong finish. After the first recorded split of the race the Raiders sat in 11th place but picked up the pace from there and started to make up places. At the next two splits, SU was already eighth, before being sixth at the final split and passing one more team in the final meters to finish fifth.
The women’s team concluded its season at the Atlantic Regional Championships, while the men now travel to Joplin, Missouri, to compete at the NCAA DII National Championships on Nov. 18.